Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York awarded $207,000 grant to help provide consumer bankruptcy services
UTICA, NY – The Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc (LASMNY) will use a federal grant of more than $207,000 to provide access to legal advice and counseling in consumer bankruptcy services to those “ most affected by the economic crisis. ”
The funding comes from the Legal Services Corporation, the federally funded nonprofit corporation created by Congress to help provide equal access to justice for Americans by providing funding for civil legal aid to those who do not can’t afford it.
LASMNY operates in 13 counties in central New York and the southern part.
“This funding comes at a critical time in our region. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many homes. Across New York State, people are still facing job and income losses. This pro bono project gives people in emergency situations access to a lawyer,” said Paul Lupia, Executive Director of the Society.
Volunteer lawyers will triage files, select and advise clients who will then be referred to pro bono lawyers. LASMNY also partners with Syracuse University Law School bankruptcy clinics and pro se legal clinics.
“Everyone deserves a second chance. Bankruptcy can give people the opportunity to get back on their feet. Funding for this project will allow us to hire local lawyers, partner with Upsolve.org, and give students in law from Syracuse University hands-on experience,” said Arlene Sanders, director of pro bono programs at LASMNY.
A “unique” part of the grant is identifying the possibility of student loan discharge through the bankruptcy screening process. Until January 2020, students were told that student debt could not be canceled through bankruptcy. Now more and more judges and lawyers are saying it’s a “misnomer”, and bankruptcy can help, the organization said.
The Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. is a nonprofit law firm that provides free civil legal information, advice, and representation to people who cannot afford an attorney. .
It serves 13 counties including Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and Otsego.
The organization also serves agricultural workers throughout New York.
LASMANY has offices in Utica, Syracuse, Binghamton, Watertown, Oswego, Oneonta, Cooperstown and New Paltz.